Dan Pulcrano, head of the San Jose alt-weekly Metro, has signed an agreement to purchase The Los Gatos Observer, a community news Web site that was started nearly three years ago by a local software designer, Alastair Dallas. Terms weren’t revealed in an announcement on the Observer’s Web site.

“I am naturally sad to step aside,” Dallas said in the announcement. “I hope you agree that I found the most suitable buyer possible to continue delivering local news to the Los Gatos community.”

Writers from Metro’s online operation, Boulevards, will take over the Web site and start covering Los Gatos, a town of about 28,000 in Santa Clara County.

Pulcrano is the founder of the Los Gatos Weekly and former publisher of the Los Gatos Weekly-Times. He and former partner David Cohen founded Metro and started a number of community weeklies in Santa Clara County including the Los Gatos paper. In 2001, the partners split and Cohen got the community papers while Pulcrano kept Metro.

Four years later, Cohen sold the community papers to the Mercury News. Pulcrano’s Metro, which includes a North Bay and a Santa Cruz edition as well as the metroactive.com web site, is one of the few independent journalistic voices left in the Bay Area.

Dallas, the founder of the Observer, had high hopes for his Web site. In the “about us” section of his Web site, he wrote:

    We aim to cover all aspects of the town, from news that the San Jose and San Francisco papers deems trivial, to business openings and other events that reflect the things we do here. If your group was denied coverage before, well, there’s a new newspaper in town. …

    In the future, all communities will be served by a local, independent, web site that provides a virtual commons, offering citizens the latest news, upcoming events, and a way to discuss important issues. Much as they want to tap this market, huge media companies are simply not local. The Observer is a prototype for how it ought to work–local ownership, local management, local focus.

SF Press Club News

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